Yankees have no new COVID-19 cases, but injuries mount

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
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BALTIMORE — The New York Yankees didn’t have any new positive tests for COVID-19 to add to their eight cases already, manager Aaron Boone said before Friday night’s game at Baltimore.

The Yankees, however, are dealing with other injuries.

Center fielder Aaron Hicks had an MRI that revealed a torn tendon sheath in his left wrist. Boone said the team will initially try to treat the injury with medicine, and if that goes well, Hicks could be available this weekend.

Hicks, however, could require surgery if the medicine is not effective.

“I think it could go either way,” Boone said.

Slugger Giancarlo Stanton was scratched with left quad tightness less than an hour before the first pitch. His status for the rest of the series is uncertain.

The team revealed earlier this week that shortstop Gleyber Torres tested positive for the coronavirus despite being fully vaccinated and having previously had COVID-19. Torres could return to the lineup in fewer than 10 days, Boone said.

Asymptomatic vaccinated people can be cleared to return if they test negative twice.

In addition to Torres, New York has three coaches and four traveling staffers that are breakthrough positives, meaning they tested positive despite being fully vaccinated. At least one of those people who tested positive has since gotten a negative result – Boone didn’t reveal any other details.

“The good news is we had another day of negatives,” Boone said. “I don’t ever want to say we’re in the clear again but it’s a good sign that we had a couple of days of negatives.”

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said his team did not need to make any changes in its routine, as far as wearing masks or social distancing, because of the positive tests with the Yankees.

“It doesn’t affect us at all,” Hyde said.

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.